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February 2006 Back Beat

February 1, 2006
by root
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People in the news

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, based in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., has appointed Darlene Christiansen, R.N., executive director of the Hospital Accreditation Program.

Christiansen has more than 20 years experience in nursing, working in both hospitals and long-term care facilities. In addition, she has held numerous management positions. She most recently served as director of standards interpretation and the Office of Quality Monitoring at the Joint Commission. Prior to that, Christiansen was associate director of the Hospital Accreditation Program and associate director of the Long Term Care Accreditation Program at the Joint Commission.

AHRQ advisory council adds five
The National Advisory Council for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recently added five new members. In addition, the terms of two current members were extended.

The five new council members are: Dale Bratzler, D.O., M.P.H., principal clinical coordinator, Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality, Inc., Oklahoma City, Okla.; Patricia Flatley Brennan, R.N., Ph.D., Moehlman professor of nursing and industrial engineering, University Wisconsin-Madison, Wis.; Ada Sue Hinshaw, Ph.D., R.N., dean and professor of nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Carlos Roberto Jaen, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chairman, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas; and Munr Kazmir, M.D., founder and CEO of Direct Meds, Inc., Leonia, N.J.

Appointments were extended for: Brent James, M.D., vice president of medical research and executive director, Institute for Health Care Delivery Research, Intermountain Health Care, Salt Lake City, Utah; and Newt Gingrich, Ph.D., senior fellow, American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC.

Thomas tapped to Save Lives, Save Dollars

Detroit-based Thomas Group Inc. has been hired by the Greater Detroit Area Health Council to manage the implementation process for the Health Council’s Save Lives, Save Dollars regional initiative which looks to improve quality and decrease health care costs. The Thomas Group stated that it is developing the program’s infrastructure and implementing a process that will take the initiative from the design phase to full implementation among health systems, physicians and health plans.

Save Lives, Save Dollars is a collaborative that plans to align all stakeholders in southeastern Michigan to drive improvements in quality and derive cost savings through compliance with evidence-based guidelines. More than 80 different interest groups are participating in the initiative. Participating organizations include major employers, healthcare providers, and health plans, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield/Blue Care Network, Health Alliance Plan and CareChoices.

CHCF takes it step by step

The California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) has awarded more than $1.1 million in grants for 11 projects that support counties and community-based coalitions in developing health coverage options for low-income Californians. The grants were made through its Step by Step: Local Coverage Expansion Initiative, now in its third year.

CHCF also awarded several grants to subsidize the cost of health insurance premiums through established programs that have demonstrated unmet needs. Awards totaling $1.3 million will benefit Healthy Kids programs in 7 California counties.

Step by Step provides technical assistance for county and community-based coalitions interested in expanding coverage for uninsured populations not eligible for public insurance programs, including children, childcare workers, and other low-wage workers.

Recent release

Health Care Technology Vol. 3 Current Ed,
bFeatures over 50 white papers, including contributions from Lewis Redd, Accenture; Ed Hammond, Duke University; and John Halamka, CareGroup Health System; Montgomery Research, 2005;;$156

MGMA-AHIMA Smart Pack: Implementing an Electronic Health Record in Physician Practices,
Includes pieces by Carl Bertrams, Jill Burrington-Brown, and Ruth Carol; The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), 2005;; $35